Groton Hit Hard By School Funding Cuts

Governor Dannel Malloy announcement about changes in state education funding means Groton Public Schools are facing about $17.5 million worth of cuts in state aid.

Groton Superintendent Dr. Michael Graner said would “basically dismantle the school system.”

Instead of the approximately $25 million Groton Schools got last year in Education Cost Sharing, they’d only get $7.5 million.

“I can’t think of any programs that wouldn’t be cut, actually,” Graner said. “Or significantly reduced.”

Class sizes could reach 30 to 40 kids, there’d be massive layoffs to teachers and other staff, and academic, extra-curricular, arts and sports programs would see cuts and revamps at all grade levels, according to Graner.

Already the district has made $2.8 million worth of town budget cuts, Graner said. It closed Pleasant Valley Elementary School, laid off 18 teachers, a principal and other staff members.

Graner said the governor initially projected about $15 million in state aid cuts from Groton Schools, but he didn’t think that would go through. In fact, Graner said the town only budgeted for $5 million worth of state educational aid cuts.

He’s hoping there’s a “reasonable” budget and change to the numbers before the first payment in October.

“It scares me because they’ve already taken a whack here in Groton. How much more are you going to take away from these kids?” asked Christine Lowney, a Groton Schools employee.

She’s preparing her granddaughter to enter the first grade in the Groton school district, at a different school since her granddaughter attended Pleasant Valley.

“They’re our future, and if you’re gonna take things away from them now that they need, it’s going to affect them in the long run,” Lowney said.

“It’s concerning when it comes to class sizes, their education, especially when you have one who is going to be taking a lot of high honors classes,” Tina Price of Mystic said.

Price has two Groton high schooler students and she hopes this doesn’t make her kids less competitive for colleges.

“With so many kids in the classrooms, how are they going to be able to teach so many at the same time,” Price said.

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